PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Veteran Hollywood actress and Norfolk State University alumna Denise Dowse has died at age 64 after battling viral meningitis.

Her sister Tracey Dowse confirmed the news in a statement Saturday night, saying “it is with a very heavy heart that I inform everyone that my sister, Denise Dowse has gone forward to meet our family in eternal life.”

“Denise Yvonne Dowse was the most amazing sister, a consummate, illustrious actress, mentor and director. She was my very best friend and final family member. Denise loved all of you. I know that she is watching over us with all the love she has.”

Tracey told WAVY that her sister’s illness started in July as a headache, and then she slipped into a coma on July 18.

Dowse graduated from Norfolk State in 1981 and appeared in more than 100 roles in movies and television in her career, including “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Coach Carter,” “Insecure,” “Ray” and “Rocket Power.” She had just recently directed “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story.

Denise Dowse at NSU (Courtesy of Tracey Dowse)

Tracey says she will have more information about a celebration of life for her sister coming soon.